Awards: International Booker Winner; Miles Franklin Longlist

Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann, has won the 2024 International Booker Prize. The author and translator are splitting the £50,000 (about $63,640) prize. Erpenbeck is the first German to win the first International Booker, and Hofmann is the first male translator to win.

Organizers said that Kairos, published in the U.S. by New Directions, "follows a destructive affair between a young woman and an older man in 1980s East Berlin, with the two lovers seemingly embodying East Germany's crushed idealism. A meditation on hope and disappointment, Kairos poses complex questions about freedom, loyalty, love and power."

Chair of judges Eleanor Wachtel said: "In luminous prose, Jenny Erpenbeck exposes the complexity of a relationship between a young student and a much older writer, tracking the daily tensions and reversals that mark their intimacy, staying close to the apartments, cafés, and city streets, workplaces and foods of East Berlin. It starts with love and passion, but it's at least as much about power, art and culture. The self-absorption of the lovers, their descent into a destructive vortex, remains connected to the larger history of East Germany during this period, often meeting history at odd angles.

"Michael Hofmann's translation captures the eloquence and eccentricities of Erpenbeck's writing, the rhythm of its run-on sentences, the expanse of her emotional vocabulary.

"What makes Kairos so unusual is that it is both beautiful and uncomfortable, personal and political. Erpenbeck invites you to make the connection between these generation-defining political developments and a devastating, even brutal love affair, questioning the nature of destiny and agency. Like the GDR, it starts with optimism and trust, then unravels."


Perpetual, the trustee of the A$60,000 (about US$40,000) Miles Franklin Literary Award, has released this year's longlist celebrating "novels of the highest literary merit that tell stories about Australian life." The longlisted titles are:

Only Sound Remains by Hossein Asgari 
Wall by Jen Craig
Strangers at the Port by Lauren Aimee Curtis
Anam by André Dao
The Bell of the World by Gregory Day
Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko
The Sitter by Angela O’Keeffe
Hospital by Sanya Rushdi
Stone Yard Devotional by Charlotte Wood
Praiseworthy by Alexis Wright

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